Sunday, October 01 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Registration Opens

Sunday, October 01 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Member Tribe Meeting/Reception




Monday, October 02 3:30 AM - 4:30 AM

Breakfast Buffet

Monday, October 02 4:30 AM - 7:50 AM

General Session

Opening Prayer & Cultural Sharing

Host Tribe Welcome

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

NAFOA Welcoming Remarks

Cristina Danforth, Oneida Nation, President, NAFOA Board of Directors

Conference Chair Welcome remarks

Georgette Dixon, Senior Vice President and Director of National Partnerships, Wells Fargo

Growing a Sustainable Economy – A Leader’s Perspective

Political advancements and economic opportunities have given tribal governments the ability to grow their economies to fund operations, programs, and services. The thirty-nine Oklahoma tribes represent diverse cultures, histories, and economic pursuits that reflect broadly across Indian Country. What lessons, strategies, and situations have led to successful growth and what challenges need to be worked through to assist growth for all tribes? Oklahoma tribal leaders will discuss their strategies, lessons and challenges that build strong tribal economies able to grow into the next generations.


John Berrey
, Chairman, Quapaw Tribe


Bill John Baker, Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation 

James R. Floyd, Principal Chief, Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Terri Parton, President, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes

Kay Rhoads, Principal Chief, Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma

Creating Sovereign Financial Systems - Tribally-Chartered Banks

Access to capital and credit markets in Indian Country continues to be a major impediment to economic and community development. Tribal governments have the ability to charter banks and other financial institutions, but is it worth the effort to begin and capitalize a tribal bank? This session will present a research on the legal and financial considerations of a tribal government chartered bank and compare the various charters and regulatory schemes.


J.D. Colbert, President and CEO, Holisso Hakv Inc.


David Black, Community Development Expert, Office of the Comptroller of Currency 

Cristina Danforth,  Oneida Nation, President, NAFOA Board of Directors

W. Gregory Guedel, Ph.D., Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker LLP

Robin Kovash, Attorney, Jones & Keller, P.C.

Debating a Tax Fix for Indian Country

The Department of Interior has stated that its early priority will be to settle tribal jurisdiction of Indian trade and commerce by amending the existing Indian Trader regulations. However, there is concern that amending the regulations may not give tribal governments enough legal protections to advance the issue beyond a temporary fix. Join the live debate and the subsequent consultation on the issue that will impose far-reaching implications for tribal government economic development.


Kitcki Carroll, Executive Director, United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.


John "Rocky" Barrett, Chairman, Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Derrick Beetso, Senior Counsel, National Congress of American Indians

Colby Duren, Counsel, NAFOA

Alison Grigonis, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP

Monday, October 02 6:15 AM - 6:30 AM

Refreshment Break

Monday, October 02 7:50 AM - 9:20 AM


Monday, October 02 9:20 AM - 1:25 PM

Breakout Session Themes

Track 1 Theme: Governance & Economic Opportunities

Track 1 themed sessions on "Governance & Economic Opportunities" provide insight on best practices for building the legal and governance capacity of your tribe.


Track 2 Theme: Financial Management

Track 2 themed sessions on "Financial Management" are designed for finance department staff, emerging financial managers, and tribal administrators looking to continue their education in accounting, budgeting, and operations.


Track 3 Theme: Capital & Asset Management

Track 3 themed sessions on "Capital & Asset Management" are designed to help tribes identify and secure viable sources of capital to fund current and future ventures.

Monday, October 02 9:20 AM - 10:35 AM

Breakout Sessions

Track 1 - Tribal Consultation - BIA's “Licensed Indian Trader” Regulations & Commerce Proposal

NAFOA recognizes that while it is important for tribal governments to have strong relationships and hear from federal government partners, it is equally important for federal partners to connect with tribal leaders from across Indian Country who are working on issues of importance to economic development. In this consultation with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), tribes will have the opportunity to discuss proposed policies centered on economic development and jurisdiction. The consultation will include discussions on the "Licensed Indian Trader" regulations, reducing constraints on tribal governments to bolster tribal economies, among other proposed policies.

Consultation led by:

Dr. Gavin Clarkson,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development, Bureau Indian Affairs within the Office of the Assistant Secretary


Track 2 - Recognize It When You See It: Protect Your Tribe from Occupational Fraud

Occupational fraud is more common and causes more financial loss to tribal governments than fraud committed by outsiders. This session will review red flags associated with fraud, as well as the appropriate tools and detection techniques to protect your tribe. Speakers will also cover general types of employee theft such as billing schemes, cash and treasury management, check theft, collusion and bribery, ghost employees, legal options, as well as how data and analytics can be used to fight fraud in the tribal government.


Max Muller, Max Muller & Associates


Rodrigo Macias, CFE, Forensic Services Leader and National Tribal Services Co-Leader, MGO CPA’s & Advisors LLP

Kris Nixon, CPA, Principal, Director of Tribal Services, CliftonLarsonAllen

Alan Post, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Jared Smith, CEO, S3 Management


Track 3 - Elements of Tax Credit Compliance

The New Markets Tax Credit and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs spur development in low-income communities, including American Indian communities. Tribes that are considering tax credits or that are awarded tax credits need to understand the regulatory and compliance requirements from the start and build strong operating procedures. Failure to comply can result in recapture of the tax credits claimed by the investor. This session will review the types of compliance required and required documentation to the IRS and the Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund.


Tony Walters, Executive Director, National American Indian Housing Council


Jeff Ackley, Former Housing Authority Director, Sokaogon Chippewa Housing Authority

Phil Glynn, President, Travois

Joel Laubenstein, Partner, Baker Tilly

Monday, October 02 10:35 AM - 10:50 AM

Refreshment Break

Monday, October 02 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

Breakout Sessions

Track 1 - Tribal Listening Session – Tribally-Chartered Corporations and Congressional Tax Reform

In this facilitated listening session, tribal governments will have the ability to provide policy input on potential IRS guidance on the federal tax treatment of wholly-owned tribally-chartered corporations formed under tribal law. The uncertainty of tax treatment and has implications on the ability to issue tax exempt bonds and anticipated profitability. This important conversation will direct NAFOA on how to move forward. The listening session will also deliver an update on congressional efforts to take on tax reform as a priority in this Congress and a discussion on creating a tribal government bankruptcy and restructuring system.



Mary Streitz, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney

Telly Meier, Tax Specialist, Office of Indian Tribal Governments, Internal Revenue Service

Dante Desiderio, Executive Director, NAFOA

Track 2 - Post Award Grant Management: Special Conditions

All grant awards include special conditions concerning compliance and prohibition of certain activities such as lobbying, political patronage, and  nepotism that carry different meaning for tribal communities and governments. In the first of this grant management series, speakers will present current issues tribal governments are encountering regarding special conditions and possible resolutions including ways to avoid noncompliance, which can hinder the ability to drawdown funds or having some funds withheld until special conditions are satisfied.


Corrine Wilson, CPA, Principal, REDW


Morgan Aronson, CPA, CGFM, Director, Financial Audits, Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General

Barbara Colbert, Finance Director, Caddo Nation

Marlinda Silversmith, Program Specialist Grants and Contracts, Bureau of Indian Education

Track 3 – Avoiding Investment Policy Conflicts - Syncing Tribal Investments

Financial planning requires a comprehensive assessment and approach to managing the financial health of your tribal government assets. Retirement plans, Minor’s Trusts, and tribal trust and reserve assets can all benefit from a comprehensive review.In addition, changes in financial regulations and fee structures may make even average returns unlikely. Learn why it is important to manage your assets and conduct reviews of investments in this session.


Gerard Tamparong, Senior Vice President, Payden & Rygel Investment Management


Matt Gelfand, Managing Director, Senior Economist and Senior Investment Advisor, Rockefeller & Co.

Michael Starrett, Managing Director and Global Institutional Consultant, Merrill Lynch

Monday, October 02 12:10 PM - 1:25 PM

Breakout Sessions

Track 1 - Energy Sovereignty: Regulating for a Sustainable Energy Future

Tribal governments, as sovereign nations, have the power to regulate energy on their lands. Decisions and policies regarding energy can strongly influence utility investments, operations, and rates at the government, enterprise development, and citizen/consumer level. This session will review the creation of regulations and what tribes should consider in developing agreements, monitoring markets, and enforcing regulations – especially when violations occur.


John Lewis, Board Chairman of Gila River Indian Community Utility Authority


Payton Batliner, Economic Development Specialist, Division of Energy and Mineral Development, US-DOI, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs

Bill Cornelius, Baker Tilly

Kevin Frost, Councilman, Southern Ute Indian Tribe

John Lewis, Board Chairman of Gila River Indian Community Utility Authority

Track 2 - GASB Lease Accounting Changes: Is Your Tribe Ready?

Tribal governments that are both a lessee and a lessor for land, facilities, equipment and slot machines will see significant changes in accounting starting in December of 2019. GASB has recently released Statement No. 87, Leases, which will impact debt ratios and may trigger violations of debt covenants. Preparation for these changes is essential.


Roberta E. Reese, Senior Project Manager, GASB


Deborah Beams, Director, BKD CPAs & Advisors

Tom Friend, CPA, Principal, REDW

Tasha Repp, Tribal Services Partner and National Practice Leader, Moss Adams LLP, NAFOA's Representative to the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC) 


Track 3 - Creating a Tribally-Centered RFP for Financial Services

Choosing a banking, investment, or other financial services provider in today’s marketplace is more challenging than ever for leadership. Tribal governments need to consider remedies for privacy lapses, technology considerations, and the external activities of the providers that may be working against the tribe’s interests. As a result, tribal governments are in a unique position to benefit from a strategically crafted request for proposal (RFP) for services and providers that fulfill the current and future needs of the tribe. Distinct requests for social impact statements, waivers of sovereign immunity, and resolution of disputes are paramount to understanding key aspects of a successful and thorough RFP for services.


Gary Hayes, Director of Tribal Relations, NAFOA


Jenna Ara, Director, GoldenTree Asset Management LLP

Dawson Her Many Horses, VP & Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Robert Russin, Comptroller, Gila River Indian Community

Leah Sixkiller, Associate, Faegre Baker Daniels

Monday, October 02 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

President's Reception




Tuesday, October 03 3:30 AM - 4:30 AM

Breakfast Buffet

Tuesday, October 03 4:15 AM - 7:00 AM

General Session

Opening Prayer & Cultural Sharing

Partnering for Economic Success: Tribal Economic Leadership Program

NAFOA and Arizona State University’s (ASU) American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) are building on their existing partnership to continue to develop professional development courses for tribal governments and their enterprises - 

Leadership (TEL) Program. This innovative executive education program will leverage ASU’s extensive resources, NAFOA’s expertise, and firsthand experiences from tribal leaders to provide a unique and cutting edge experience for elected and appointed officials.


Dr. Traci L. Morris
, Director, American Indian Policy Institute, Arizona State University

Financial Strategies: LIBOR Expiration & Interest Rate Impacts

LIBOR, a financial benchmark referenced in trillions of dollars of financial contracts, is set to expire in 2021.  As we await regulatory guidance and market solutions regarding a replacement reference rate, there are a number of steps that market participants can take right now to prepare for this major disruption.  Join our expert panelists and they discuss the impact of the end of LIBOR on both existing and prospective credit facilities and derivatives transactions.


Dawson Her Many Horses, Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch


Rex Evans, Managing Director, Derivative Logic

Cheryl Aaron, Senior Counsel, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Financial Strategies: Markets Defying Gravity

Confidence and earnings are up in the U.S. along with the equity markets, however; consumers and businesses have not been spending at levels that match the growth in confidence or at levels that would help the U.S. reach the Administrations growth goals. How will all of this affect tribal economic growth and investments? Our panel of experts will sort through the information and offer their opinions on how to position your tribal assets, and minimize interest rate impacts.


Dawson Her Many Horses, Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch


Paul Purcell, Chairman, Robert W. Baird & Co.

Bill Cutsinger, Sr. Vice President - Investments, Wells Fargo Advisors

The Power of Indian Country: Economic Growth & Job Creation

Measuring employment in Indian communities has been very difficult. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis under its Center for Indian Country Development has embarked on a ground-breaking geocoding project to not only measure job creation in Indian Country, but assigning the job growth to industries that have benefited Indian communities. The Center for Indian Country Development will be discussing the results and methods of the study and asking tribes where we go from here in data collection.


Richard Todd, Vice President and Advisor to the CICD, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Cutting Edge Trends: The Business of Hollywood

Indian tribes have been approached in the past about investing in movie productions with little success. At times, this meant funding Indian-focused productions or taking significant risk on larger mainstream productions. An Indian tribe and its partners set out to change that dynamic using an Interior Indian loan guarantee and focusing on the business end of the production instead of the content. A few years later and after a few notable successes, the efforts have paid off with a top-tier production that also features Native actors and content in the production of Wind River. Join the investing partners of Acacia as they discuss the business and culture of Hollywood.


Roy Salter, Senior Advisor, FTI Consulting


Matthew George, Film Producer

Brenda Lintinger, Council Member, Tunica-Biloxi Tribes of Louisiana 

Neil Sacker, Of Counsel, Skadden Arps

David Eisman, Partner - Head of Skadden Entertainment Group


Tuesday, October 03 7:00 AM - 7:10 AM

Refreshment Break

Tuesday, October 03 7:10 AM - 8:25 AM

Breakout Sessions

Track 1 - Clean Power: Opportunity for All Tribes

The continued growth of "clean power" through renewable energy not only supports sustainability but also represents a good business opportunity for all tribal governments. Tribal energy producers and tribal government consumers will benefit from the actionable insight into the state of renewable energy and its necessity. Speakers will discuss impacts and opportunities of energy technologies and how the diverse renewable energy is helping to drive tribal government’s energy economy forward at home or with a national impact.


Philip Baker-Shenk, Partner, Holland & Knight


Cameron Cooper, Energy Program Coordinator, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Chuck Garrett, Executive Vice President, Cherokee Nation Businesses

Stephen Manydeeds, Chief, Division of Energy and Mineral Development, US-DOI, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs

Track 2 - Part 1: Translating Financial Information - Tribal Leadership & Citizens

One of the most important responsibilities of governing is oversight of the tribe's finances, which can be complex due to various tribal enterprises, federal contracts, budget decisions, and other economic factors. While tribal leadership brings a wealth of knowledge in governance, it does not always include extensive experience with financial and accounting matters. This session will cover an orientation to financial reporting translated into practical terms and uses for both leadership and citizens. The session will also discuss tips on summarizing key information and making key financial and tribal data accessible to ordinary citizens of the tribe.


Hattie Mitchell,  CPA, CFE Director of Finance for AMERIND Risk and NAFOA Board Treasurer


Matt Borkowski,  Senior Technical Account Executive, Arctic Information Technology

Diane Gange, CFO, Jamestown S'kllalam Tribe

Pete Magee, CPA, Accufund

RaLinda Ninham-Lamberies, Assistant CFO, Oneida Nation

Track 3 - Top 10 Tribal Investment & Financing Mistakes

While it’s important to learn from the best, it also pays to learn from mistakes. This session will cover the tips for avoiding common investment mistakes that tend to be very costly. The mistakes include: 1) the lack of a thorough cash flow analysis; 2) having too much liquidity; 3) having too short of a duration; 4) underestimating time to market; 5) not amortizing; 6) lack of diversification; 7) having too many investment positions; 8) not having the right number and mix of brokers; 9) not providing transparent reporting; and 10) benchmarking incorrectly.


Pam Means, Senior Vice President, Means and Associates


Kristi Jackson, Chairman, TFA Capital Partners

Lars Landrie, Partner, Moss Adams LLP

Ken Mason, Manager, Walker and Armstrong LLP

Tuesday, October 03 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

10th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards Luncheon

Please join us as we honor strong Native American leaders who have brought about positive economic change for both their communities and Indian Country throughout the course of their career.

Tuesday, October 03 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Breakout Sessions

Track 1 - Growing Revenue by Expanding Our Culture of Hospitality

Tourism is one of Indian Country’s largest industries and one of its fastest growing economic sectors. For many tribes, tourism is seen as a main source of revenue and plays a positive impact on the balance of employment and government funding. Creating unique destinations and entertainment choices that meet the expectations of segmented customers is a necessity. Join the discussion on answering the call to bring diversity and unique experiences to your tribe’s tourism market.


Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, NAFOA Board Secretary


Myron Armijo, Chairman, Santa Ana Hospitality Board

Camille Ferguson, Executive Director, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association

Ryan Logan, Office Manager, Tourism & Recreation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Travis Owens, Tourism Director, Cherokee Nation


Track 2 - Part 2: Translating Financial Information - Potential Lenders

Presenting quality financial information to banks and other lenders is an important part of growing a tribal economy. This session will continue the discussion on effective presentations of financial information and include a discussion on presenting to external parties including bankers and investors. The panelists will include the importance of preparing financial statements and notes in a lender-friendly format, tips on demonstrating political stability, ratio analysis, auditor’s report, and an examination on the need to share closely held data (citizen information) to lenders.


David Burrell, Pinnacle Bank


Brian Dommer, Controller, Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund

John Hosman, Partner, FS Advisors, Inc.

Track 3 - Best Practices in Debt Covenants Compliance

Debt covenants can appear in casino loans, real estate, oil and gas, and other financial transactions. Learning about debt compliance can give leadership the opportunity to salvage a project in the event of a default or avoid devastating compliance errors. This session will cover best practices that all tribal projects should consider when taking on a loan, including building a debt compliance policy and checklist, evaluating potential issues throughout the lifetime of the loan, and understanding tasks to comply with the lending agreement.


Deborah A. Reed, Attorney at Law, Reed Legal, PLLC


Scott Hamilton, Senior Relationship Manager, Wells Fargo Bank

Christina McMenamin, Pechanga Development Corporation

Wilda Wahpepah, Special Counsel, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Tuesday, October 03 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Refreshment Break

Tuesday, October 03 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM

Breakout Sessions

Track 1 - Making the Federal Government a Customer

The federal government buys nearly $100 billion in goods and services each year. Government contracts can offer significant economic development opportunities for tribal governments. This session will discuss the basics of 8(a) business development with government agencies, including prime and subcontracting assistance programs, SBA certification programs, an overview of federal contract procedures and how to sell to the government.


Bryan Small, CEO, Small Consulting Group, LLC


Alex Hontos, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP

Eric Sherman, Legislative Assistant, Native American Contractors Association

Bryan Small, CEO, Small Consulting Group, LLC

Track 2 - Post Award Grant Management: Grant Close Out

In the second session of this series, speakers will discuss tribal preparations needed for the final months of participation in a federal grant. The session will cover suggested timelines, what tribes should consider regarding personnel responsibilities, no cost extensions, fulfilling matching requirements, financial closeouts, and program elements.


Jennifer Parisien, Director of Resource Development, Financial Management Policy Specialist, NAFOA


Carrie Carlson, MBA, CGFM, Chief Financial Officer, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Scott Huebert, Partner, Finley & Cook

Laura Mayton, Chief Financial Officer, Karuk Tribe

Tuesday, October 03 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Closing Reception

Join us at the Flying Tee for food, drink, fun, and friendly competition.  

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